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Sarah Steele Successfully defended their Dissertation Titled, “Not Yet Here: Reexamining Queerness & Identity in Contemporary Social Movement Work”

Based on three years of ethnographic and community-engaged research and 38 interviews with trans and queer organizers and activists in Chicago, this dissertation explores the organizing tactics, motivating ideologies and political underpinnings of contemporary queer political work.  I show how race is deeply implicated in contemporary trans and queer projects, an intersection that has been underexamined in studies of LGBT social movements.  I analyze on-the-ground queer movement activity illuminating similarities and differences from historical queer movement work and identifying a unique contemporary queer of color praxis. Finally, I show how these politics are embodied through activists’ sexual and romantic relationships, making sure to bring desire, pleasure, and joy into our understandings of trans and queer lives. Rather than seeing queer social movements as a relic of the past, the goal of this dissertation is to bring back into conversation queer ideological formations and update our understandings of this distinct contemporary political work.

Sarah Steele has accepted a post-doctoral position to conduct research on the "Trans+ People in Canadian Prisons” project at the University of Victoria, Chair in Trans Studies Program in Canada. Congratulations, Dr. Steele!